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Aug 17, 2002

Hi Doctor Young, Does AZT cause a nasty looking pigmenation (black to purple spots to develop on the inside of the tongue and mouth?) Does the AZT that is offered as medicine today in combination with other drugs still produce this result? AZT is a drug that is helpful but has quite a few drawbacks, causes anemia etc. Is the company producing this drug working on an AZT 2 to counter the problematic side effects on this drug? Thanks again for all your work!

Warmest, Kenneth

Response from Dr. Young

Zidovudine (ADV, AZT) can cause hyperpigmentation of nails and skin- I suppose that it could cause hyperpigmentation of the tongue, but I am not aware of this personally. Yes, when used in combination, the possibility of side effects remain, though, if I gauge your question correctly, the likelihood of ZDV side effects are much lower now (compared with earlier days) because of the lower doses of ZDV that are used.

There are a number of other nucleoside medications (d4T, ddI, (ddC), abacavir, 3TC) and one nucleotide medication (tenofovir)-- these have differing side effect profile, and can often be used in place of ZDV to avoid particular side effects. Furthermore, several of these (3TC, abacavir) are indeed manufactured by the same company (GlaxoSmithKline) that produces ZDV. -BY

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